Today the Berkeley Police Department is releasing updated and additional information regarding the homicide from Saturday night, February 18, 2012.
Several published and on-line reports relied on a single account of an inaccurate chronology of this incident. Please note below the actual timelines of the initial stages of this case.
At approximately 8:45 PM, BPD received a report of a suspicious person possibly trespassing. The caller reported an encounter with an unknown person “hanging around” his property, and asked that an officer be sent to investigate. This call for service was queued for dispatch.
At that time, available Patrol teams were being reconfigured in order to monitor a protest march which was to come into Berkeley from Oakland in the next hour. Only criminal, in-progress emergency calls were to be dispatched, due to the reduction in officers available to handle calls for service. Concerns about the potential for violence associated with the march resulted in plans to allocate officers to monitor the march.
At approximately 9:00 PM, an officer, seeing several pending calls for service, including two “suspicious circumstances”, offered to respond to either of the calls. The officer’s offer was declined, as only in-progress emergency calls were to be dispatched.
Two minutes later, at approximately 9:02 PM, BPD received a phone call reporting an attack in progress. The previous call information was updated and officers were dispatched within one minute. Officers were cleared to proceed using their emergency lights and sirens to the Park Gate location.
The first officer broadcast arrival on scene in the northeastern hill neighborhood within five minutes of being dispatched. Numerous officers arrived over the next few minutes.
An officer located the victim, called for paramedic assistance, and began providing first aid. Berkeley Fire Department paramedics had also been assigned to respond, and were en route. Paramedics arrived on scene and took over care of the victim.
Within fifteen minutes, at approximately 9:22 PM, the suspect was located nearby, detained, and subsequently arrested.
BPD is confirming the identity of the homicide victim as Peter Myron Cukor, 67 yrs old, of Berkeley.
We are not releasing the booking photo at this time. We anticipate releasing the booking photo after our investigators are sure that all potential witness interviews have been completed, and no further witness identifications are necessary. Release of a booking photo in the early stages of an investigation can compromise identifications, the investigation, and subsequent prosecution.
We are not releasing the recordings of the calls at this time.
The investigation in this case continues and is on-going. The suspect, Daniel Jordan Dewitt, remains in custody. Mr. Dewitt is scheduled to be arraigned on February 22, 2012, at 2:00 PM, in Department 112 at the Alameda County Courthouse.
We are urging anyone who may know anything about this crime to please call the BPD Homicide Detail at (510) 981-5741, or the non-emergency number at (510) 981-5900. Any additional information may be critical in the efforts towards the charging and prosecution of this case.
Chief Michael Meehan said, “This case cannot help but deeply affect the members of our community and the men and women of our police department, who are devoting their working lives to protecting this community. We are carefully reviewing the circumstances of this case in depth to ensure everything possible was done to properly respond to this tragic event.”
We have no further information available at this time.